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Moments In Music W/ Anthony Donnelly- Feat:Talking Heads (Crosseyed & Painless)


The year is 1981,

The glamour and excitement typified by the 80's really kicks into gear Charles and Diana marry, and IBM releases the original 5150 IBM PC. Music and technology are changing at a rapid pace, the first heart-lung transplant is performed..

Amid so much progress and change,

however, there were darker moments. The first recognized cases of AIDS appear and Pope John Paul II was shot by would-be assassin Mehment Ali Agca & the first American test-tube baby was born.,most importantly, MTV debuted just after midnight on August 1, 1981, introduced videos and bantered about music news between clips that launched the 80s & fueled the industry,


This is around the same time I have memories of staying up late watching City Limits or The New Music, up past bedtime , because well that's when the good stuff was on the telly. Now at this point in time I was still a little bit too young to be considered a fan but wise enough to recognize what was standing out of the norm, and this was definitely not only one of those albums, but also one of the tracks.


Just as importantly ,the New York band were a long way from the late 70s CBGB’S residency .

Talking Heads had released their fourth studio album, Remain in Light. Although the single failed to reach on the US main chart, it reached to 20 on the US Dance chart to become Talking Heads' highest charting dance single.


The album “’Remain in Light’ was the beginning of a new vision. It was a very creative period and really amazing.” – Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads

The band were feeling aggravated as they felt they were being treated as a backing band for front man Byrne. Frantz and Weymouth even discussed the possibility of leaving Talking Heads as they felt Byrne was too controlling. Byrne, on the other hand, felt pressured in leading the creative direction of the group.


With it’s melding of musical styles, Remain in Light is a perfect time capsule of downtown New York City circa 1980. It was the music of The Paradise Garage-meets-CBGB’s-meets-The Kitchen with its amalgamation of post punk, new wave, underground disco, funk, African and experimental sensibilities.

It was in a class of its own in relation to other records released at the time and the critics and fans embraced it, as did MTV who put “Once in a Lifetime '' in heavy rotation. American radio,

on the other hand, was not so keen to support a single that united so many musical, cultural and social factors. The segregation of commercial radio.


The track that sticks out amongst the staked LP is Crosseyed & Painless.

Talking Heads show their funky side on this unconventional track. The music was written at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, where the band recorded with producer Brian Eno. Group leader David Byrne,

bass player Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz had art school backgrounds, which led to a distinct musical approach that wasn't too concerned with song structure. Eno was also big on experimentation, which led to the musical gumbo of "Crosseyed And Painless." Like the rest of the songs on the Remain In Light album, Eno got a writing credit along with the band.

According to drummer Chris Frantz, David Byrne was struggling with the bridge section that starts with the "facts are simple" line. He needed to get a lot of words in short space, so Frantz suggested he try rap, which was novel at the time. Byrne gave it a try and nailed it on the first take.


The lyrics discuss a paranoid and alienated man who feels he is stressed by his urban surroundings. These lyrics are a common theme for Talking Heads and categorize lead singer David Byrne's writing style. The "rhythmical rant" in "Crosseyed and Painless""Facts are simple and facts are straight. Facts are lazy and facts are late."is influenced by old-school rap, specifically

Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" given to Byrne by Frantz.The singer is filled with doubt and isn't even sure he can believe facts.] By the end of the song, he expresses his resentment of facts: "Facts don't do what I want them to do / Facts just twist the truth around."

The music video for "Crosseyed and Painless", was directed by Toni Basil and by their own request did not feature the members of the band. Instead it featured street dancers chosen by David Byrne....,.




From The Remaining In Light LP

Crosseyed & Painless

Talking Heads



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Moments In Music

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Anthony Donnelly


~May Good JuJu Find You~